Published by Mark

Post-Bankruptcy, It’s Like Entry-Level – Again

October 23, 2008 at 5:05 am

In my ongoing effort to bring the very best and most up-to-date advice to my Indiana bankruptcy clients, I read. I read a lot, and I read many different publications, everything from daily newspapers and news magazines, to bankruptcy publications, blogs, and websites. I read publications friends share with me: Mensa magazine, AARP publications, financial planning and employee benefit white papers, tax newsletters – you name it. What’s funny is how all these different areas relate to each other, and how one can pick up useful tidbits of information in the most unexpected places.

Needless to say, any publication dealing with jobs is important to my work as a bankruptcy attorney. That’s because being able to keep – or to find – a well-paying job is crucial for folks trying to reduce a debt load. I often stress the fact that job loss is one of the three leading causes of bankruptcy (see Super Rich Or Bankrupt – You Could Be Anybody). Then, following a bankruptcy, clients who’ve filed Chapter 7 need to keep their bills paid and gain control over their finances, and the right job is an important key to their success. Clients who were working at the time they filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy have taken on a debt repayment plan under the supervision of the bankruptcy court, and they need cash flow in order to keep up with those repayments. You can readily see why I do a lot of reading about job opportunities and job markets.

Well, the other day, in a consumer newsletter called JobDigs, I found an article called “12 Tips About Life And Work”. This article, I could immediately see, was different from any of the others I’d read. It contained no statistics about jobs. It contained no dress-for-success-and-carry-a-leather-brief advice, no career tips at all, for that matter. Instead, the writer, Sue Morem, was offering twelve tips about attitudes that she believes lead to success in the job market. As I was reading through these tips, I couldn’t help thinking that, not only should I share the article with all my bankruptcy clients, but that every single person who’s ever been laid off could benefit from reading the 12 tips. In fact, those of us who have jobs could stand to be reminded of the things Morem was saying.

She offers some practical advice: Be Prompt. Be WIlling (show enthusiasm for the job). Be Still (work on listening skills). Be Appropriate (in appearance and behavior). But the two tips that might have been written especially for my bankruptcy clients, and the ones I think we could all stand to be reminded of are these:
“Be Grateful. No job is beneath you….any job that pays you for a legal activity is an honorable job, and it probably pays you more in a month than people in many parts of the world make in a year. “
“Be Down. Let your mistakes get you down. Then get back up. It’s important to take the time to grieve over – not gloss over – a mistake. Then, move on and be stronger.”

What this last tip says to me is, post bankruptcy, you may feel as if you’re back to entry-level in life. But, that’s exactly what the bankruptcy safety net is designed to do – offer re-entry into the rest of your life! Be Grateful. Be Down. Now, because you’ve accomplished the hardest part, you can move on and Be Stronger.

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